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Topic : Benefits for Foster Carers

This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 posts, and was last updated 1 year, 6 months ago.

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  • fosterine_avatars_13


    A foster carer recently asked a question about carers entitlement to job seekers allowance. They were wondering how a foster carer without a placement can expect to get job seekers allowance, given that they are not available for work because they are waiting for the next placement. They thought their fostering role meant they could not apply for job seekers allowance. This does seem a bit of a contradiction. Can anyone explain it?



    Yes it is confusing as universal credit is \being rolled out too. Universal Credit is based on what you earn and fostering income will be disregarded as an income in all circumstances. Universal Credit is also designed to help foster carers between placements. Foster carers will have an eight week period before there are any changes to their benefit entitlement.



    It is all very confusing. I have spoken to Foster Carers who have been told they can no longer claim Income Support once their youngest child reaches 5 years of age and will have to go onto Job Seekers Allowance but when they say they are Foster Carers and not available for work this then causes difficulty. It isn’t clear at all.


    I agree very confusing and conflicting information on benefits all over the country – perhaps there needs to be an advisor worker who deals directly with foster carers?



    What do people think about the level of information given to Foster Carers following approval about what benefits they may be able to claim such as Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit and benefits they may be entitled to for caring for children with disabilities such as DLA and Carers allowance etc?


    i think ‘following approval’ is too late and that this must be explored earlier during assessment – wtc and ctc can be calculated in advance and advice on benefits sought as this may affect their ability to give up work to foster and may also influence the social workers view of the applicant being financially ‘viable’ to foster



    I agree Jane1, possibly a short booklet of what benefits will be paid and how, should be given with an application form at the onset.
    People can then be more aware of the financial impact before making a decision to carry on and discussion can be had at that time with the agency.



    I also agree that information about Foster Carers’ finances should be given with an application pack so that prospective carers can explore the impact of fostering on their finances before making a decision to go ahead. Hopefully the introduction of Universal Credits will help reduce the confusion regarding which benefit a Foster Carer is best claiming in their particular circumstances e.g. Income Support/JSA or Working Tax Credits.


    I am new to fostering and new to the forum as well.
    I am 62 years old, too old for universal credit.
    Can anybody help please?
    Also, I am very close to getting a placement but still very unclear about how much will I get paid. I know it depends on the child, but there is a fostering allowance and carers fee, do a carer gets both or is it the same thing or do different agency have different policies?
    Just to let you all know that I am on JSA and my local JC doesn’t seem very helpful.
    I am very confused.



    Hi Newfostermum,

    Welcome to the forum, in respect of your enquiry I can inform you that when a child is placed in foster care, the cost of caring for them is paid to the foster carer in the form of a fostering allowance.

    Many fostering services also pay a fee on top of this allowance, in recognition of the work they do in caring for these children. This additional payment is classed as the “reward” element of the fee.

    To ensure that no foster carer is out of pocket because of their caring role, a recommended national minimum allowance was introduced by the Department for Education. There is currently no recommended amount for the reward element, and each fostering service will set this separately. You are correct in your thinking, there are different policies for different agencies and local authorities so it would be worth asking your supervising social worker for their policies on payments, allowances and fees to foster carers. Ask for a breakdown of what the total is made up of so you know how much is for the child and what it covers and how much is for the carer. For general information around finances for foster carers visit our webpage on finances here:

    Also as a new foster carer I’m not sure if you have been informed of this or not but you would be expected to register as self employed, for further information you can contact HMRC Newly self- employed helpline
    0300 200 3504 or visit the webpage

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